dancing pt. 2

They all say they’ll dance with you in the beginning.
We’ll move the furniture in the living room
and I’ll teach you,
I’ll say.

It’s all about tension,
between us two,
held in our arms.
Away and towards.
Stretch and contract.
That’s all dancing really is,
I’ll say,
The musicality of a connection between any two souls.
It’s art.

And they oblige at first.
But they never make good on their empty words.

Promises of holding each other close,
as the music slows.
Promises of a lively jive,
or a passionate salsa.
Promises of
3 and a half minutes of
of heart racing
of flirtatious chasing
of chests barely touching
of electrifying
bachata.

When the whole room falls away around you both.
And all there is, is you two.
And the rhythm guiding your movements,
And the air in between your bodies,
And everything else fades to black,
And,
And,

They bottle it.
Say they’ll do it another day. Another time. They’re not in the mood. Or they’re too tired.

Okay, I’ll say.

I metaphorically put the furniture back to its original place,
turn the music off,
and the TV on.

the night we met

I wrote this several months back. Back when we were still together.

Take me back to the night we met.

We met a long time before that night.
But that night, I felt, was the first time
we properly saw each other.
Up until then, we’d kept it largely
platonic, sometimes suggestive, but
never too far. Nothing that would get you
into trouble.

But that night was different.
We both caught each other off-guard.
We didn’t have a screen, or snapchat filter,
or school email, or professional duties to hide
behind.

We were unfiltered.
Apparently you’d seen me first.
But I saw you when I came downstairs, you
were at the bar.
It was instinctive.
I went straight over to you without
hesitation and we hugged. Which I think
caught us both off-guard.

We were both wearing plaid shirts, and
we both made a comment that we had
coordinated outfits.
Then your friends came over and made the
same comment.

It was easy.
I was magnetically drawn to you, and it
was so clear and obvious.

I wish I could’ve stayed talking to you at
the bar all evening. But I had friends to
get back to, and so did you.

But we bumped into each other again that
night at the Wetherspoons. My eyes kept
trying to find you all evening.

You were like an island in the middle of
a shipwreck. I felt I was constantly
swimming against the tide, fighting to
keep my head above water.

But with you, I could breathe easy. It was
effortless.

So, I’m sorry that it hasn’t stayed that
way. You told me tonight that you miss
me. I’m right here, but I’m not. I’m not the
same anymore. For the first 6 month of us
being together, I didn’t think about my
past once. I was so happy. So content.

So, I thank you for that.

But slowly, it crept back in.
And I’m furious that something that
happened so long ago, is tearing apart
something so wonderful. It makes me
hate myself, for not being able to deal
with it and move on.

I wish none of it had ever happened.
But I can’t change that now.
No amount of wishing will ever undo.
What he did.
What I didn’t do.
What neither of us did.
And everything inbetween.

I had all and then most of you, some, and now none of you. Take me back to the night we met.”
– Lord Huron

I never thought I’d write those words about you.

dancing

We’re dancing on the edge of a precipice
Except you have both your feet
Planted firmly on solid ground
And I keep pirouetting closer to the edge.
Light-footed
And fragile
A swift breeze would do it
One loose rock under foot
It would be quick.

But there you are
Still.
Both my hands in yours
And your feet
My anchors.

There are daisies growing in the cracks of this landslide.

the in between things

Memories keep coming back to me.
Bright flashes of nostalgia.
Just normal things,
but normal things that I’ve not thought about probably ever.
Since they first happened maybe.
(It just so happens that I can’t recall any of them right now)

But it’s things like the smell of warm summer air walking home from the rugby club.
Or watching the carnival week parade from the bay window of Mum and Dad’s bedroom in Malvern house.

Or the feeling of warm sand between your toes when you have to put your trainers back on at the end of a long day on the beach.

Normal things.
Easy things.
In between things.

In between the crying and screaming and sleepless nights and multiples of 7 or 49.
Do these things make up for the other things?

The in between things.
Chopped banana and grapes and Rosie and Jim.
Forts made from bushes.
Wind breaks.
Lemon-top icecreams.
Over-sized hand-me-down clothes.

A plaster on a scrubbed knee that you’d wear with pride
LOOK
someone took care of me.

waiting

i wait.
because i’ve waited so many times before
stupidly
blindly
for a text, for you to come through the front door

you’re not like them, i know
but 8 years of being treated otherwise
obsolete
is hard to unlearn
harder to let go

years of
nights without texts
still,
mornings without texts
all the next day without texts
i guess i should’ve known this was a precursor
to my calling you “ex”

foolishly waiting like a puppy at the door
your absence
an abscess
i couldn’t ignore

i guess that’s because you’d lost all my trust
and i was right
these inklings
these nagging sensations in my gut
because two years ago i found out what i already knew
and i was just painting over rust

regardless of who it is
i still feel the same
i can’t sleep til they’re home
i won’t switch off that part of my brain
because i’ve lost this before
my sanity
and
this game.

how do you mend a trust universally broken?
i can’t say it out loud
“fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself”

best left unspoken.

hospital flowers

This poem was born out of my complete frustration with the way mental health issues are dealt with, by friends, family and professionals. Bizarrely, or maybe not, i really enjoyed coming out of hospital after my appendix burst – i received cards and well-wishes, and i was cared for and looked after. I felt like it was making up for the previous 7 years of my life where i had no sympathy at all for my severe issues with mental illness. It might be twisted, but it makes sense to me.

break my leg and bring me flowers
let me be hit by a train
or car
not for the want of death
just pain
or diagnosed with some strange malady
or whatever will provoke your sympathy

take me to hospital and bring me cards
let there be
wounds on my body
casts on my limbs
hurt in my eyes
and pain when i breathe
and you will know my suffering when you see my scars

where is the proof of my sickness?
no marks are left by ocd
depression causes no limp
anxiety no wounds that you may see
or may grace with all your empathy

ocd leaves no marks unless
you class the skin worn
from my hands and wrists
from scrubbing with green scourers
and anti-septics

or the crack in my jaw
from grinding my teeth 49 repetitions at a time

depression doesn’t give me a limp
other than that when i attempt to
pull my unmade self from unmade sheets
to stagger downstairs
to try to eat
and it certainly leaves no marks
other than those you’ll find on my legs
and my arms

anxiety causes no open wounds
unless you see me shaking
in a crowded room
eyes frantic
hands clammy
and searching for you

“you’re faking it”
“there’s nothing wrong with you”
“snap out of it”
would you say the same had i’d a
bump on my head?

are the only sicknesses worth your sympathy those that leave scars?
if so,
then break my legs
take me to hospital
bring me hospital flowers and hospital cards.

c • r • e • a • t • i • v • i • t • y

I listened to an episode of The Guilty Feminist about creativity. Our lord and saviour Deborah got the audience to participate in an exercise of creativity. They simple had to make a sound and see what word came out of their mouth. Not planning the word, just trusting that the right thing (that being anything) would come out. So I did it myself. In alphabetical order, and I wrote it down.

apparently it’s difficult to come by
but maybe the problem is him, not you
could it be that maybe…
doesn’t matter anyway…
even if i tried to explain myself…
for fuck’s sake
get on with it
how about we start over again?

i never pictured any of this happening
just try and put yourself in my shoes
kids
let me get it out of my system, please
much of what i feel always comes back to that night
never a day when it doesn’t come to mind
oh, if i could go back and shake myself
perhaps things would have been different
questions like this always circle around my mind
radiating out from me
shall we go back to it?

text message. teens.
underpinning, undermining, undervaluing
visceral hatred and shivering skin
what happens now?

x‘s at the end of our messages still
you’ve won.

things i can’t say out loud

there was a box of my things,
that i completely forgot i was missing.

some thing didn’t make sense; a set of children’s animal pens.
some things did. my garmin watch.
and a bag of gold glitter.

you’d kept it all. neatly in a box. and as soon as i challenged you, called you out in the middle of the street, you just ran away and left it there.
like you didn’t even want it in the first place.

i can understand you keeping the useful things.
but why did you have to keep my sparkle for yourself too?

comfort in the clouds

I take comfort in the clouds
they can be thunderous and torrential, fuming, screaming through the trees

and fickle

bursts of bright blue, the wind drops,
the skies paint watercolours with the remnants of the tempest

i’ve felt like those skies today
the ones outside my window
rain followed by birdsong
thunder by calm
gales by whispering leaves

a dear friend once reminded me
there is always blue above the clouds
no matter how grey
how ominous
how oppressive
it must end
there must be clear skies somewhere
if not just now

but i like storms
i think it’s in my nature

i like to feel the sky darken
hear the pressure drop and the air shift
to witness nature loosen its reins
branches whip
rivers burst
the skies cry

blue skies may be lovely
but storms make beautiful sunsets